agtools technology to reduce waste for growers, shippers and buyers

posted October 25, 2017

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credit: Agtools

Despite the fact that 1 in 7 Americans if food insecure, every year, American consumers, businesses, and farms spend $218 billion a year, or 1.3% of GDP, growing, processing, transporting, and disposing  of food that is never eaten. That’s 52 million tons of food sent to landfill annually, plus another 10 million tons that is discarded or left unharvested on farms. Food waste occurs because of low market prices and high labor costs, which makes it uneconomical for farmers to harvest all that they produce. There is currently a lack of streamlined technology in the agriculture industry to provide accurate information that is timely and useful to industry operations.

AgTools hopes to reduce the amount of food that is wasted and increase sustainability by bringing new intelligence to the agriculture market. Their system employs real time information and statistics regarding time, cost, supply, demand, and more throughout the food supply chain and aims to optimize the economic results of all stakeholders in the industry but addressing the major communication gaps that exist between farmers and retailers. Their proprietary technology incorporates all levels of business operations from farm production to various stages of logistics, suppliers and buyers for Tier I, II or III and provides alerts and information that will directly benefit and influence decisions in the industry on a regular basis such as weather patterns and consumer trends.

Growers can use the software to plan their harvest based on solid information to get the most out of their crop. Shippers can get the data they need to have to ensure the timely and most efficient delivery of products. And buyers can get real time data to plan their purchases, know what is going on in the market every day in terms of product, availability, surplus, shortfalls, and basis for shifts in pricing

To find out more (and to try their free trial) click HERE


if you wanted to track your local wind patterns…

posted April 12, 2017

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We’ve got another good one for all of our fellow map geeks out there. Sev just learned about Windy TV from the lighthouse keeper in the Azores. The website provides a real-time map visualization of wind and weather patterns around the globe. It allows the user to zero in on a specific address or to get a satellite’s-eye-view of whole continents, and it’s a great tool for educating yourself about about predominant wind patterns and their seasonal variations.

Utility aside, we’d be remiss for not mentioning that the visualization is in and of itself downright gorgeous; as far as we’re concerned this is kind of the best way to spend time on the internet since Google Earth.

Oh, and bonus? Windy TV also provides your local forecast five days out without the encroachment of ads.

It makes so much sense to be as familiar with the wind as you are with your coastline, your local watershed, your local politics…

The air is moving! Can you feel it?!


crop planning resources for farmers

posted January 10, 2017

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‘Tis the season for nailing down your crop plan for the Spring! (Hypothetically, this would have been on our to-do lists for early December ago, but I can’t be the only one whose holidays got the better of her business agenda, right?) Is this your first time crop planning? Looking to upgrade your system? Maybe you’re feeling a little lost or a little down-to-the-wire. Here’s a collection of resources to make the process a little easier:

1. Penn State’s guide to making plans for the season: specifically for CSA farms, but this advice is adaptable to market and whole sale farms as well. Basic, comprehensive, and
2.  “Crop master” spreadsheet to model off of: comprehensive, super-logical, easy to follow, and easy to replicate– provided you are familiar with inserting formulas into spreadsheets.
3. A template that you can edit: a template from Tom Becker of Sunseed Farm, which will potentially save first-time veggie farmers a lot of time and energy: the sheet includes already-made formulas and already input crop information. Note: will have to be adjusted to reflect individual USDA zones.
4. Collection of great links/resources on the subject: “everyone’s brain works differently.”

according to tech wizard lu yoder, this is the machine that he’s recommend if living in a boat, small apparent, or out of a station wagon in winters

posted January 14, 2016

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This vintage machine with heavy gauge steel mechanics is on long-term loan to AMT. It is installed in a cabinet specifically for sewing (do not remove). The Singer 401-A is a good strong machine capable of sewing heavy materials such as Canvas, Denim, Sunbrella, Duck Canvas, & leather as well as light weight materials. Before using please attend the short training.

Tool lead: Crafty Rachel

Training: Every other monday, during the textiles lab hours (see calendar)

Maintenance: Monthly = Oil and run according to the instructions in the manual. Annually (with heavy use) – Proffessional service which usually runs about $135.

Maintenance log: July 9, 2012 – Service at Berkeley Vacuum and Sewing Center $150

Manual: External link to PDF

Features:

  • Slant Needle
  • drop in bobbin
  • twin/double needle stitching capable
  • adjustable needle position
  • 28 built in stitches
  • Singer Stitch
  • (and a bunch more stuff)

Attachments:

  • 5 Bobbins
  • Straight stitch foot
  • throat plate
  • Button foot
  • Special Purpose foot
  • Seam Guide
  • Narrow Hemmer
  • Ruffler,
  • Singer stitch discs numbers 1 thru 5

developing the grape cultivars of the future

posted December 31, 2015

With a focus on disease resistance and hardiness, researchers are hard at work developing the grape cultivars of the future.

Through a multidisciplinary collaborative project called VitisGen, researchers are are working to decrease the time, effort, and cost of developing these new grapes.

According to the VitisGen website, the project “incorporates cutting-edge genomics technology and socioeconomic research into the traditional grape breeding and evaluation process, which will speed up the ability to identify important genes related consumer-valued traits like disease resistance, low temperature tolerance and enhanced fruit quality.”

To learn more about VitisGen, click HERE!

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posted December 27, 2015

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Today, in incredibly awesome things made available by the internet, a new(ish) website  called Vintage Aerial provides access to over 5 million photos, taken in 41 states over the second half of the twentieth century.

Looking to find an aerial photograph of a specific farm, homestead, or rural township? The librarians at the site are nearly positive that they can find it for you, and for no cost! Prints of the photographs are then made available.

Just looking to browse the visual rural history of this country? Many of the prints are available to view online— many accompanied by stories from current or previous owners.



call out for great holiday gifts

posted November 30, 2015

It may not be a samurai sword, but these tools are about as close to one as you can get! Hida Tool and Hardware Company features exceptional tools from Japan. Hida Tool is your source for woodworking tools, gardening tools, and kitchen knives that continue the metalworking traditions of the samurai sword makers.

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History of Japanese Tools:

In Japan during the period when samurai existed, katana (Japanese swords) were commonly used and increased in popularity as close-combat warfare evolved.

The swords were hand forged from professional blacksmiths (sword smiths). The steel (combined carbon steels) gets hammered and heated numerous times to increase the sword’s durability. This process of pounding and other techniques used to create a sword eventually was utilized for manufacturing many tools in Japan.

In 1876 the Meiji Government issued an edict to outlaw Japanese swords. It was a hard time for samurai, but the blacksmiths who produced swords were also out of business.

As a way to pass down the skill of tool forging and continue business, many blacksmiths decided to create woodworking, gardening tools and kitchen cutlery instead. Around this period, woodworking in Japan was also going through changes; high-quality tools to increase efficiency were in demand. Combining the skills of Japanese sword forging, the tools evolved in the quality of their cutting edges and durability.

Order your Hida Tool HERE!


patagonia starts to sell peasants’ food

posted November 23, 2015

What we eat does more than just fill our stomachs and nourish our bodies; good food lifts our spirits and helps us understand the world a little better.

We aim to make the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and perhaps most important, inspire solutions to the environmental crisis. And nowhere is the crisis more pressing than in the food industry.

To get your hands on fruit & almond bars made only from organic fruit, nuts, seeds and juice,buffalo jerky sourced from free-roaming American bison, soup deliciously good in every way and lightly smoked wild sockeye salmon, click HERE.


usda makes another website

posted November 17, 2015

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USDA has a new website and you can see it here.  Its purpose is to support new farmers and is pretty awesome.

We are thankful for the websites, USDA!

What we’d like is a national land bank that holds land in transition and allows young farmers to buy their way into ownership over the course of 30 years without having to face the rapid fire/ long waiting lists/ prejudiced bankers.

We can dream.